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The Phrase Theory.

TRANSFORMATIONAL GRAMMAR | NOUN. NUMBER. | Scientific Principles for the Classification of Parts of Speech in Native Grammars of English. The Notion of Grammatical Category. | THE ADJECTIVE | Tense & Aspect of the verb | The category of aspect | NUMERAL | NOTIONAL AND FORMAL WORDS | NON-TRADITIONAL ANALYSIS OF THE CONPOUND SENTENCE | Predicativity of the s-ce. |

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Kruisinger subdivided the phrases into 2 kinds:1) close (the words are connected by the mode of subordination “These books”, “Saw him”. 2) loose syntactic group. The words are connected by means of coordination “Men and women”. In classical scientific G one can observe a great of terms for denoting secondary parts of the sentence. For example R. Zandvoort used the term adjunct & subdivided them into: 1)adnominal. E.g. Mary’s book. 2)attributive adjunct. E.g. A nice girl. 3) objective adjunct. E.g. wrote a letter. 4) predicative adjunct. E.g. to be angry.

G. Curme used the term modifier. & M. Bright used complement to denote all the secondary parts connected with the verb. 1)adjective complement, 2)predicative complement, 3)adverbial complement.

O. Jesperson tried to work out his original system of syntactic analysis which is known as the “ Theory of Ranks ”—in word groups they are combined words of different ranks which he called:

1st rank—a primary

2nd rank—a secondary

3rd rank—tertiary



Primaries are absolutely independent but they subordinate secondaries. Secondaries subordinate 3rd rank. The theory seems quite logical when it’s applied for the analysis of phrases. Successive subordination but if we apply the Theory of ranks to sentence analysis we reveal a contradiction here because the predicate as a word of the 2nd rank is subordinated to the subject expressed by a primary but this relation is wrong because subject & predicate as principle parts of the sentence are of unequal rank. & they can’t be subordinated to each other. That’s why the theory of ranks fails to work on the level of a sentence. Later in his work “The Philosopher of G” he managed to overcome the contradiction having introduced 2 different terms to denote 2 kinds of relation: 1) junction. E.g. offensive smell (one of the words leading syntactically).

2) nexus (the words are of an equal rank & equal importance for the structure. This relation exists between subject & predicate. E.g. dog barks. The dog is white.

C.T. Onions introduced the Theory of sentence structure. His idea was that all the number of E-sh simple sentences can be reduced to 5 patterns. The difference of patterns was based on the quality of a word used as a predicate.


P.1. Subj. Pred.
  Verb (intransitive) E.g. The day dreams
P.2. Subj. Pred.
  V.(linking)+ Pred. E.g. Mary lay dead
P.3. Subj. Pred.
  V(trans)+ obj.(direct) E.g. Cats catch mice (if this construction is converted to the Passive we’ll get Pattern 1)
P.4. Subj. Pred.
  V.(trans)+ obj.(indirect)+obj.(direct) E.g. tom gave Mary the money (convert-get Pattern 3)
P.5. Subj. Pred.
  V(trans.)+obj.(dir)+ Pred.(adjunct) E.g. Tom called Mary a tomato

In these patterns we see the attempt to formalise the study of sentence structure. The same kind of attempt was made by O. Jesperson in “Analytic Syntax”. He introduced a number of syntactic terms to describe the sentence structure. S—subject, O—indirect object, V—finite verb, v—non-finite verb, M—modifier, N—negotion,

I—infinitive, P—predicative.

Mary wants to come here.

S V v M

Summary: the main contribution of classical scientific G into the theory of G can be traced in syntax while in morphology they simply reproduce the ideas of prescriptive G. In syntax E. Kruisinger revised the trichotomic sentence division excluding compound sentences from this system. The problem of sentence structure & sentence patterns was discussed by Onions & Jesperson. This formal approach to G because the creed of structural G which originated in the 40s of the 20 th c.


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